Women on the Leading Edge of Medicine
The seed to become a doctor was first planted in Candice Lovell’s mind when she was in middle school. As her mother was completing graduate studies, Candice read some of her mother’s research work on the effect of cocaine on babies. Candice was moved by this information and wanted to do something to help.
“Initially I thought I wanted to become a pediatrician. Each summer throughout high school, I participated in youth research programs at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW). I basically took advantage of every program that was available to high school students, and that confirmed to me that a career in medicine was the path I wanted to pursue,” she said.
A Rufus King High School graduate, Candice earned a bachelor of science degree, with a pre-medicine focus from Xavier University of Louisiana. After college, she returned to Milwaukee, completing both medical school and doing her residency at the Medical College.
Candice said that throughout college and her residency, two female physicians have been strong supporters and advocates. She was able to shadow one, who is an obstetrician and gynecologist (OB/GYN), while in high school and college; and another helped her with networking and navigating the medical community.
“One doctor sparked my interest in the OB/ GYN field. She actually made me love it so much that I gave up the notion of becoming a pediatrician to become an OB/GYN. Another doctor was instrumental in helping me network at the Medical College. She is a pediatrician who introduced me to chairs of various departments. She was also very engaged in various community initiatives. I really admired her. These two individuals kept me going and encouraged me to become the doctor that I am today,” said Candice.
“I actually thought I would leave Milwaukee after college. I didn’t get accepted to any other medical college, and I was comfortable with the Medical College of Wisconsin and their programs. When MCW accepted me, I stayed. I liked MCW’s residency program and ended up finding a group of wonderful attending physicians there who offered me a job. We are partners in practice now. Since then, I have developed a very busy practice. I love what I do. I love my patients, and I love where I practice,” she said.
While being a doctor is challenging and can make for a very stressful life, Candice says that she tries to find balance. She also tries to strike work-life-balance for the sake of her husband, Terrance, and four-year-old son, Caleb.
While she has a busy practice and other demands on her time, Candice believes it’s important to pay it forward, so she always takes time to help others.
“I had great mentors, so I make a point of mentoring several young women—especially African American women. I receive calls from individuals from high school through medical college, and I always open my doors to them. They shadow me, ask advice and we discuss medicine. I also try to give back with my patients. I have two very different practices—one in the suburbs and one in the inner city. Oftentimes, I serve as more than just a physician to my patients in the inner city. Some of them, in addition to health concerns, need direction or perhaps just someone to talk with about their lives,” she said.
Candice said that she thinks about her legacy a lot, and she wants people to remember that she served them with compassion, dignity, respect and kindness.